This dessert is a real sleeper. To read it, it sounds “ho hum” but the first bite will pop your eyes wide open. This recipe keeps Marie and Helen crawling around on the tundra, making sure we have our winter supply of cranberries for the freezer.
3 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups milk
3 cups cranberries
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C)
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Note that this mixture will not get creamy and fluffy as it does in a butter cake, as the ratio of butter to sugar is not high enough.
Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, beating after each addition, just until it is mixed.
Stir in the cranberries. If you are using large commercial cranberries, chop them up a bit.
Spread the batter in a greased 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) baking pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and the top springs back when lightly touched.
¾ cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup evaporated milk or cream
Combine the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from hat. A wire whisk is very useful to keep the sauce smooth.
Makes a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) cake.
Serving Suggestion: Serve the sauce warm over the cake – and remember – the secret is in the sauce. Enjoy!
This is why Helen and Marie are sometimes nowhere to be found. They are out picking blueberries so they can bring you this tantalizing tart! We like to use wild blueberries because the flavour is superior. If you use commercial berries, use the smaller ones.
North Knife Lake Blueberry Cream Cheese Tarts
½ cup butter or margarine
¼ cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp. grated orange rind
½ tsp. vanilla
Cream Cheese Lemon Filling Ingredients:
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp. grated dried lemon rind
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ cup sugar
Blueberry Topping Ingredients:
½ cup fresh blueberries*
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries
To prepare the crust, cream the butter and sugar. Add remaining ingredients and cream well. Press into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan.
Bake the crust in a preheated 375°F (190°C) oven for 15-20 minutes. It should be a nice golden brown.
Remove from the oven and place on rack until completely cooled.
To prepare the filling, cream the cream cheese well and then beat in the remaining ingredients until smooth.
Spread the filling in the cooled pie shell.
To make the topping, combine ½ cup of blueberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining blueberries. Cool completely, then spread over the cream cheese filling.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to blend the flavours.
*If you are using frozen blueberries, add 2 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp. of cold water, to the blueberry and sugar mixture for the last minute of cooking. Then just remove from the heat and add the rest of the berries.
The weekend of November 6-8, 2009 was an exciting time to be in Churchill, Manitoba. Not only was polar bear season in full swing, the Olympic Torch also made its way into this tiny arctic seaport community of less than 1000 round residents.
The weekend celebrations began with a town social (a Manitoba tradition to party and raise money for events and charities). There was an excellent turn out of local townspeople, tour operators and especially tourists, who were flocking to the Polar Bear Capital of the World to try and catch a glimpse of these ice giants.
Saturday was a typical day in Churchill during bear season. The streets were filled with tourists and buses were zooming back and forth with people going to see the polar bears on one of the massive buggies that operate just east of the town.
At the Webber house, Helen and I were busy in the kitchen preparing a meal fit for a king. We had been asked by Lynda Gunter of Frontiers North if we could host a dinner for a group of people who were here to see polar bears and take part in the Olympic Torch Run.
Cranberries & Canada Geese Cookbook
Our guests showed up that evening after a very eventful day on the Tundra Buggy. Among them were Steve Allen, the Chairman of the Board for the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), and his wife Marjie; Charles McKee, Vice President International for the CTC; Sandra Teakle, the CTC representative from France; and Donna Campbell, the CTC representative from Australia. Our guests were also staying at the Webber house for the weekend!
Dinner went off beautifully and our 15 guests also included Lynda and Merv Gunter from Frontiers North, their son John and his wife Lisa Joy. The only interruption of the evening was the postponement of dessert so we could all go out and enjoy the fireworks display that was put on that night.
After watching the Olympic ceremonies we took a group of seven from the CTC and crowded into the Turbo Beaver for the 25-minute flight north along the coast of the Hudson Bay to Seal River Heritage Lodge. We thought we were just going for quick lunch, but upon arrival there was a sleeping polar bear only 100 yards away from the airplane.
The big white bear awoke from his sleep and proceeded to check out the new arrivals! He was within 20-yards of us before he decided we were not a threat, and he sauntered off to his napping spot again. We made the 10-minute trek to the Lodge through six inches of glistening white snow, all the while keeping an eye on our new white friend, who had moved to the runway to pushover one of our marking signs.
After a quick lunch of Hamburger Soup and Chocolate Banana Crater Cake, our hosts Mike and Jeanne Reimer, gave us a bit of an orientation, including a history of the area. We took a quick tour of the Lodge, and got the call that the plane was in the air already on its way to pick us up. That was quick! Ten minutes later we looked out the window and saw nothing. We were fogged in and it wouldn’t lift until sundown, which made it too late for the plane to take off from Churchill. We were at the Lodge for the night.
Black Currants & Caribou Cookbook
But there was more than enough room, and the staff appeared to enjoy accommodating an extra seven people for the night. In fact, our extra guests were treated no differently than any other. They enjoyed appetizers and cocktails, as well as the slide shows we present in the evenings about polar bears and the local wild life in and around our Lodge and the Churchill area. Everyone had a bed to sleep in, their bellies were full, and we even found extra toothbrushes and contact solution!
We awoke to a stunning sunrise over the ice forming on Hudson Bay. And just when the sun had fully risen, a large male bear walked up the road and right to the front door of the Lodge. He must have smelled breakfast! And all of our guests had a chance to get up close and personal with the bear while staying in the warmth and comfort of the Lodge. We made it out of the Lodge that morning and everyone made it home safe and sound.
Every day at Seal River Lodge brings something new, but two factors always remain the same. One is the food. Two is the Great Ice Bear.
Guide Andy has a friendly chat with a new arrival
You never go hungry, and every day brings a new culinary delight. Whether it’s a hearty soup to warm you up after the morning hike and photo shoot with two playful polar bears, or fresh artisan bread coming out of the oven only minutes before it is served at your table – it’s always special.
The Great Ice Bear, also referred to as Nanuk, the local Inuit name for polar bear, are the main reason people visit the lodge. These great white bears of the North are constantly around the lodge, and because this is the only place on the Hudson Bay that you can literally “walk” with the polar bears, guests have the opportunity to meet them face to face.
For example, last week one of our guides had the chance to “talk” with one of the young polar bears who seemed to be interested in what Andy had to say. A little while later he cautiously approached the fence. All that could be heard was the sound of camera shutters, as guests took picture after picture. Inside the lodge you could hear lodge owner Mike Reimer singing what always seems to be his motto at this time of year.
“Bears to the left of me, bears to the right, here I am… stuck in the middle with Bears.”
What's for lunch? Shaggy Bread?
Interested in trying some of our Artisan Bread for yourself? Here is Helen Webber’s recipe for what she calls Shaggy Bread.
“I have tried a number of recipes for Ciabatta breads,” says Helen, “And all of them have been delicious, but none have been this EASY and delicious!”
Shaggy Bread (Ciabatta Bread Recipe)
3 cups Warm Water
1 ¼ Tbsp. Sea Salt, Kosher Salt or 1 Tbsp. Table Salt
1 ½ Tbsp. Yeast, instant or regular
6 cups Flour – Unbleached or All Purpose – I often substitute 1 cup of some type of whole grain flour for a total of 6 cups
Mix the water, salt and yeast, stirring to dissolve in a 16-cup container preferably with a lid. I use a gallon ice cream pail.
Add the six cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is moistened. It should look like shaggy dough when you’re done. It will not be a smooth like regular bread dough and it will be quite sticky.
Cover with lid (don’t put it on tightly) or plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for two hours. Then refrigerate until ready to bake.
Cut off about a third of the dough and shape into a ball on a well floured counter. Place on a baking sheet that has been well sprinkled with cornmeal. The whole sheet doesn’t have to be covered with cornmeal, just an area a little larger than the dough ball. Be sure the top is well covered with flour.
Let rise for 40 to 50 minutes on the counter. Slice the top two or three times.
Begin preheating the oven to 450 degrees about 20 minutes before it is time to bake the bread. Place a broiler pan on the floor of a gas oven, or on the bottom rack of an electric oven.
When the oven is hot, place the bread on the rack above the pan and then immediately throw a cup of hot water into the pan. Close the oven quickly. Bake for 20 minutes and then reduce the oven to 400 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.
Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.
This bread dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. It just gets to be more of a sourdough as it ages. There is no need to wash the container between batches. It can also be doubled if you have a big enough container. A little wetter dough will give a different but still delicious result, as will slightly heavier dough.